How Equinix Tests Internet Application Performance

 

By Chris Sharp, Jon Lin, and Chris Hunsaker (3 of a 5-part series)

In collaboration with Compuware/Gomez, Equinix created a dedicated test platform to quantify the application performance enabled by Platform Equinix.

By building a “beacon server” connected to multiple carriers, Equinix simulated the effects of different application routing scenarios – connected to only one carrier or connected to a multitude of carriers – using the same hardware, software and physical location to remove as many variables as possible.

In addition, to represent the impact of geographic diversity, Equinix replicated the beacon server at sites on the East Coast (Ashburn, Va.) and West Coast (Silicon Valley, Calif.). The beacon server was initially configured to represent a typical server deployment with a connection to a single ISP in one location. The configuration was then connected with up to five carriers across multiple sites.

Gomez, the web performance division of Compuware, provides the industry’s leading solution for testing the performance, availability, and quality of web and mobile applications.

The Gomez platform integrates web load testing, web performance management, web cross-browser testing, and web performance business analysis, enabling organizations to test from the “outside-in” across all users, browsers, devices, geographies, and data centers.

Gomez has created a unique monitoring solution that aligns with our attempt at representing real performance across the internet. Its Active Last Mile capability provides on-demand active monitoring from more than 150,000 real, consumer-grade computers connected to over 2,500 local ISPs and wireless carriers in more than 168 countries around the globe.

The Gomez Network: World’s Largest and Most Comprehensive Performance Monitoring and Testing Network
Source:
http://www.gomez.com/products-solutions/technology/thegomez-network/

Gomez is the only solution able to provide an accurate view into the end user experience from anywhere on the internet, anywhere in the world, on any carrier. In addition, the Gomez platform is extensible and flexible enough for Equinix to capture standard data, such as end-to-end connection time and availability, and also create custom traceroute scripts to provide visibility into actual network paths taken, by performing scripted routines using their last-mile network.

The resulting data was parsed by removing outlying data (the bottom and top 2.5% of results for all tests), sorted by region and statistically analyzed to calculate variance (which translates into predictability).

Equinix tested three key parameters:

  • roundtrip time
  • traceroute
  • availability

Roundtrip time represents the time it takes to establish an initial connection to a server. This minimizes any differences in page rendering time, as well as any potential concerns about database or back-end access. Differentials in roundtrip times can then be isolated to correlate with network speed.

The traceroute test counts how many network hops exist between the last-mile test node and the beacon servers.

Finally, availability data was collected from all global locations, which factors in the reliability of the internet as a whole.

In part 4 of our 5-part series, we’ll share the results of our tests.